When I saw the trailer for this movie, I knew it was likely I was going to love it. It features Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson which is reason enough to want to see it. I knew both men had the potential to bring the funny and I was not disappointed. It was hilarious.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce as a triple A rated protection agent who in the last two years has fallen from regard due to a client dying. Samuel L. Jackson is Darius Kinkaid, one of the world’s most notorious hitmen and is scheduled to appear as a witness at the International Court of Justice against a ruthless and bloodthirsty Eastern dictator, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Kinkaid is testifying because Interpol has his wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek) locked up and has agreed to release her in exchange for his testimony. Interpol assigns agent Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung) to protect him but on the way, they are targeted by thugs sent by Dukhovich. Darius and Amelia get to safety but Darius is wounded. Amelia brings in Bryce, her ex-boyfriend and longtime foe of Darius, to help. Darius and Michael must work together to keep safe and get Darius from the United Kingdom to The Hague by the Court’s deadline, five pm the next day.
Along the way, we learn why Darius is a hitman, about his relationship with Sonia and about why and how Michael’s relationship with Amelia went south as well as how his client died in the first place. There are tons of car chases and fight scenes as well as a flashback to Darius meeting Sonia which puts the back in flashback, showing off the ever-beautiful Salma Hayek and gives her the opportunity to strut her stuff outside her jail cell. We also get scenes with Sonia in the present day as she interacts with Darius despite the distance between them.
Patrick Hughes directs the film and Tom O’Connor wrote the script. Between them, they make some smart choices, one of which is to cast Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson as well as Salma Hayek. Beyond the choice of actors, they also make the pair the focus of the film. Without the two men, it wouldn’t likely work but both bring a fantastic dynamic to their characters and perfect delivery of their lines. There is a real connection that builds between the two on their journey. In addition, Salma Hayek is brilliant as Sonia, witty with her dialogue and almost outperforms the men.
There is almost perfect comedic timing on the part of the director. The comedy and the dialogue are what drive this film. I love some of the funnier lines, like when Michael tells Darius his job is to keep him out of harm’s way, Darius responds with, “I am harm’s way.” There are also little bits of moral questions Darius raises as well as life experience he offers, such as “Life is going to bloody us up.” These add depth to both the main characters.
Even the action scenes are funny. Sonia is shown in her flashback to be just as violent and bloody as Darius, a gorgeous match for him. Even though he’s an assassin, you fall in love with his character, probably because it’s Samuel L. Jackson and there’s nothing not to like. The action sequences are believable and keep things moving well during the film. Even though it is almost two hours long, it doesn’t feel that way. There are also little bits along the way to their destination that just make you laugh out loud, like Darius singing or him flirting with a bus full of nuns. Lest I stint Ryan Reynolds, he gets his moments to shine both in the action scenes and when his annoyance with Darius flows over.
One of the other elements I especially liked was the music selection. It keeps pace with the action sequences as well as the quieter moments. The music is chosen to enhance each scene and I loved Samuel L. Jackson singing. I found myself wanting to go out and buy the soundtrack. That is a rare impulse for me.
The movie is predictable. There is no moment I don’t expect. Darius and Michael knowing each other is the lynchpin on which the movie is grounded but that really tells us what to expect each step along the way. The other problem I have is that Vladislav Dukhovich really is a stock villain. Gary Oldman does a solid job of portraying him but he is very one dimensional. What keeps the movie from floundering in that predictability is brilliant acting by Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek as well as solid crafting of the humor in the movie. It truly is a riot of laughter.
If you love either of the two main actors, or Salma Hayek, you will not be disappointed. While it is what you expect from both Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, that’s what I wanted to see, the pair of them riffing off each other and I got what I wanted. The film is full of laughs, full of action and Salma Hayek is as lovely as ever, managing to upstage the men. If you want to see a comedy action movie, this is the one. I loved it.
Rating: 4 stars
The world’s top protection agent is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hit men. The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their journey from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a merciless Eastern European dictator who is out for blood.
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim De Almeida, Kirsty Mitchell, with Richard E. Grant
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Screenplay: Tom O’Connor